Though the cover is bedecked in sparkles, Gerry’s sparkle is just as internal as it is external—her essential...


From the Very Fairy Princess series

A little girl with a style and sparkle all her own worries about the end of the school year.

As Gerry narrates the last few days of the school year, she points out the attributes of a fairy princess (which she is) and frets about next year (as if missing the wonderful Miss Pym, who lets her wear her wings and crown in class, her classroom and their class pet aren’t enough, her new teacher is a man!). “To be honest, I’m having a hard time finding my sparkle about this. (Change is HARD…even for a fairy princess.)” Siblings reading this to their younger sisters (and perhaps brothers) may be reminded of Junie B. Jones—Gerry’s voice is certainly filled with determination, and she is a girl who knows herself. But she lacks Junie’s attitude and childlike voice, channeling more of a Fancy Nancy; when her dad makes pancakes, she can hardly eat three: “(Even a fairy princess can lose her appetite when she’s stressed).” In the end, a tense moment during the graduation ceremony resolves itself in the best way possible and puts all of Gerry’s fears about first grade to rest. Davenier’s ink-and–colored-pencil illustrations neatly capture Gerry’s feelings, making them stand out against the rest of her class’ more joyful faces.

Though the cover is bedecked in sparkles, Gerry’s sparkle is just as internal as it is external—her essential self-confidence shines. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-316-21960-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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Safe to creep on by.


Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.


A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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